Not sure what to expect? Not to worry! Opera is an exceptionally exciting art form and requires little from you except to enjoy. Here is what you can expect.
If this is your first time attending an opera, it will be an experience you will likely never forget. Mississippi opera wants to ensure that is a memorable experience for you; one you will hopefully want to repeat again and again. Because it will be a new experience for you, we have prepared a short list of what you can expect.
YOU’LL HAVE A GREAT TIME
The Opera experience is unlike any other. One of the most amazing aspects of opera is that it is not amplified – the orchestra and singers do not use microphones. A bit about the structure of an opera:
- Each opera begins with an overture. Typically, the curtain is closed and opens after the overture is completed. As the curtains part, the artists and sets transport you to another place and time. If the set is beautiful, breathtaking, startling…or all three, should you applaud? Absolutely!!
- Most operas are divided into acts between which are short intermissions. This is an opportunity for you to stretch your legs, use the restrooms, enjoy a beverage from the concession stand, visit with friends. A signal (dimming lights or a bell) will signal when it is time to return to your seat.
- After the final scene, the curtains will close and then open again for the ensemble to take a bow and to receive audience applause.
APPLAUSE, Applause, Applause
It is common for audience members to applaud at the end of the overture, the end of beautiful aria, duet, trio…. Opera goers are an enthusiastic lot and you may hear shouts of “Brava!” (for a female performer), “Bravo!” (for a male performer), and “Bravi!” (for an ensemble).
Applause is never wrong – if you like it – show it!
SUBTITLES will tell you the story
Yes, everything you hear sung will be subtitled in English on a large screen. You will always know what is going on.
STORIES and PLOTS and COSTUMES and SCENERY and ACTING
Opera is one of the most inclusive art forms. It may be helpful for you to research the storyline prior to attending an opera. They are easy to look up on the internet by simply typing in he title of the opera into any search engine. Opera plots can become quite complex; best to read up on the twists and turns prior to the performance.
WHAT TO WEAR
If you enjoy dressing up, this is YOUR opportunity! You may see some of our audience in ball gowns and tuxedos. You may also see some folks dressed more casually. Everything but the most casual of dress is appropriate. Our best advice is, be comfortable in whatever you choose. As we cannot always control the temperature to everyone’s liking, best to include a means of warming up (shawl or wrap) or cooling off (a fan perhaps) just in case.
DON’T BE LATE
Unlike many social events, it is fashionable to COME EARLY to an opera performance. And, unlike a movie theater, Mississippi Opera does not seat latecomers once the curtain rises until the first intermission. Once the curtain rises, the doors are closed.
Feel free to call the Opera Office at 601.960.2300. We are always happy to help. We do hope that hearing your first opera will be a life-changing experience. For many, it has been. I count myself fortunate to be among them.